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One-person police department in Michigan saved after outcry

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A one-person police department in the Flint area that was to be disbanded as part of a cost-cutting effort has been saved following a public outcry.

Trustees in Genesee County’s Gaines Township voted Wednesday night to reinstate the department, WEYI-TV reported. Last month, trustees voted to disband the department after accepting the police chief’s resignation during the same meeting.

“With the public support here, I think they understand how important it is for them and I think we can move forward and address any issues that we may have in upcoming years to make it a more solid police department,” said Township Supervisor Chuck Melki.

At the time of the initial decision, some officials said the department was too expensive to run. Community members questioned the decision, however, and wanted answers about who would ensure area public safety if the department disappeared.

State police have been helping the department since it formed in 2000.

Chief Mark Schmitzer’s resignation would have been effective in June. Instead, he’s agreed to stay at the police department. Going forward, Melki said the board will be looking into options to strengthen the department, including a possible tax.

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